News Update – Best of the Day

Although Facebook is seen as a danger from a user’s perspective in terms of data capture, it offers great opportunities for businesses. Companies better see “the Facebook opportunity, get their site and grab their buttons” suggests David Carr.

What are the targets for companies engaging in Social Media in 2011? The “2010 Social Media Benchmarking Study” from Ketchum and FedEx shows us what 62 researched companies are aiming at…
– Increase awareness and interaction with brand: 94.1%
– Create community for customers/fans: 76.1%
– Increase traffic to website: 55.1%
– Identify and react to customer needs: 50.3%
– Identify new business opportunities or leads: 49.0%
And the reason for all this? As Facebook and Twitter are the new normal. At least their co-founders Chris Hughes and Biz Stone make us believe that

If this commerial won’t remind you of “Jaws” (1975), then none will. Y&R created a funny video ad for LG Electronics latest vacuum cleaner…

News Update – Best of the Day

The Social Web has it good sites and also some parts where human kind should be thinking about the communication development – especially if the language suffers from extensive and fast use of user generated content production. This brings the English Spelling Society to think about it and do some research. The result… Among the 18- to 24-year-olds the majority believed that unconventional spellings (in chats and social newsrooms) are used on the internet because it is faster and has become the norm. 22% said they would not be confident in writing an important email without referring to a dictionary or spell checker, says the research. Are self-regulation mechanisms or a change of culture the future is the question? Though “variant” spelling exists there, 31% said that alternative non-standard spellings were “unacceptable”. 66% believe that dictionaries should contain variant spellings, says the study.

I have to say that I am not a big fan of How To’s. The way Yannis Marcou wrote his tips on the use of LinkedIn for new business is worth sharing.

And finally, let’s not forget it is Thanksgiving days. Spend time with the family, real friends – switch your computer off (at least for some hours). No matter if there are funny commercials you might have not seen… Laugh in real-time!

Book Review – Marketing in the Age of Google

When somebody used to work for Google there is a lot of knowedge to be shared. And I thought, I could learn more about SEO techniques and tactics. Vanessa Fox did work for Google (apart from inventing Webmaster Central), and so I thought, I need to read the book Marketing in the Age of Google. As a web-strategist I should know the secrets of ranking high on Google for my clients.

Getting Vanessa’s inside view on how Google and their search technology operates, gives an aggregated insight on the evolution of search topics. It is saving time and presumingly more efficient than following or reading many SEO experts thoughts. And then let’s help clients to optimize their site fropm a SEO point of view.

To write a review is a challenge. As I follow some of the most interesting SEO cracks, I knew some content topics already. But there is much more quality thoughts and knowledge in it that makes the book worth reading. If companies want to optimize their top rankings, the book offers good tactical approaches and a clear structure how to start and evolve your content strategy as well as how to conquer the top positions in Google. 

Having said this, the book is based on the theory of having a web-strategy in place that is aligned to the company’s business strategy. If your company has the consumer approach understanding the needs, desires and motivation why consumers go online to evaluate products and services, then the book is a must read.

The way people used search engines has changed in the last years as the web has become mature from an information platform to a consumer generated content base. It is not about what the company spreads but what the users are looking for and the content they share and create. People hear something about a person, a brand or a campaign and instandly start going to search for more information. Not seldomly they are finding consumer input. And often the initial search entry point starts with offline marketing, PR or customer service conversation – in print ads, TV commercials or an wallpapers.

Business that know how to connect offline and online efforts will succeed in the future. Happy that this was my main claim when I started this blog and thus gets now backed up by a Google specialist… Thanks Vanessa!
Spot On!
The amount of input the book Marketing in the Age of Google offers is probably only handable for a SEO specialist. And this person has to have the buy in from the C-level to manage the online strategy accordingly. A lot of the strategy is based on content creation and content framework which is a PR, marketing, HR, R&D and Customer Service topic in the future in my eyes. These departments need to learn how to place content effectively in the search world. It will affect the way peope perceive the business strategy of a company and the way the companies and brands interact with their clients, partners and employees. What I missed was the effect taxonomies and social tagging might have on search in the future but maybe this comes with the next update. 

News Update – Best of the Day

Ecommerce is developing rapidly. And although users are said to be slow in adapting new technology, they expect their retailers to embed the latest trends and technology in their websites. As this will increase the sales potential of a business, companies should carefully listen to top 10 tactical trends by Michael Piastro which will help supercharge your ecommerce strategy for the future.

Social Media is in “at” your workplace, you said? Yes, but what does top management use it today? A new comprehensive study of more than 1000 business professionals by Pierre Khawand, Founder and CEO of People-OnTheGo shows that business decision makers manage multiple “inboxes” including Social Media. Social media is already a regular part of the work day. LinkedIn is the most popular social network. More than two-thirds (63.8%) of top management and almost three-quarters of marketing (73.9%) and sales (74.2%) respondents check LinkedIn regularly. Isn’t it interesting that private email is as popular as business email for top management? Social Media or private emails… Thinking about what might affect productivity more in the future…

Are small companies spending most of their marketing funds into Social Media in 2011? No! The use traditional websites and e-mail, says a report by online survey firm Zoomerang and GrowBiz media that surveyed 751 small firms (predominantly with less than 25 employees). The survey finds that over a quarter will spend at least 30% of their online marketing budgets on their websites, E-mail coming in second (18%). Only 10% were planning to spend at least 30% of their budgets on Social Media.

Nespresso loves commercial story-telling

Nespresso loves to do commercial story-telling. In my eyes this is done in a really effective and impressive way. Although the commercials are produced for TV, they make their way from a buzz point of view on the web when you look at the social media metrics. The number of likes, ratings, comments and “embedded content” tell us how to do some good viral as well (without obeying the secrets of a viral).

The TV commercials follow a story with George Clooney and John Malkovich. In the first spot, George could escape afterlife only by handing out his Nespresso capsules to John Malkowich (who is playing God) in front of heaven’s gate. Nevertheless, George Clooney could embrace the sweetness of heaven’s lovely secrets in the long version. Now, whether this was done by purpose to make it more attractive as a viral to be spread, we could not find out. But I am quite sure, it was…

Now, in their new TV spot John Malkowich is a cab driver picking up George Cooney who just leaves a Nespresso bar. And obviously the price for the lift is again the Nespresso capsules. Do you think George is happy to see John again? Watch it…

Spot On!
In order to get good storyboards for their spots, Nespresso asks their club-members to hand in story ideas. In the past, they have also given them two pre-produced spots to decide which one they would send on air. Can it be said that Nespresso’s approach to commercials follows some kind of social media or crowd-scourcing model? I think it does, and it does it well without making “social media noise” around it. The commercials are funny, creative and have the right cosmopolitain charm that people associate with the characters that tell the story. That’s modern commercial story-telling, isn’t it? And that’s why people love sharing it, right?

PS: Have written this post while drinking a Volluto. John and my favourite flavor… 😉

Meetings and the importance of dissent

We all experience this phenomenon on a daily basis in business. In meetings we spend hours listening to the stuff that has been said for years. No new input, no fresh approach, no disbelieve. People love to tell each other what everyone already knows. And those who really address new topics and thoughts often fail to alert the rest of the meeting crowd. Thus, the output of these meetings in most cases could be summaruzed with a single = 0…

As most of us don’t know why we have meetings and what the purpose of these meetings is, we tend to stay in our comfort-zone and don’t address the “unsaid, unknown and unpredicted”. Safety and familiarity makes us hide our dissent in meetings. And the reason we love to keep our jobs does it’s favor to it (especially in recession times). In most cases everyone knows the outcome of meetings before they have even started. The reason? We have made up our minds already…

So, how can we introduce new input or information for more effective ways of meeting conversation? Social software could play a crucial role in this perpetuum mobile business cycle. The use of social bookmarks, blogs and wikis offers a new perspective for discussions in meetings. If people give valuable input on the meeting topic via these platforms before the meeting starts, the discussion gets less influenced by the group harmony.

Apart from that, meeting members tend to follow the group heads, especially young and junior members often don’t dare to dissent with their bosses’ view – no matter if he/she is right/wrong. By opening up an input-first strategy, or platform, for the meeting, the “meeting-leader” can introduce the new input to the others and encourage meeting members to share their views and ideas around the new conversation topic.

These social platforms also serve as a checklist for the meeting (and can shorten the time needed for it). People need to be prepared upfront. Less duplication of known facts follows. And new thoughts as well as new dissent gets more awareness. As these platforms are open for all employees to work with, meeting members might acknowledge input from meeting members that were not planned to attend the meeting.

In many meetings I have seen and been to, this has proven to be more creative, and it generates more engagement and involvement. These cross-thinkers get a voice and become drivers of new business. They get invited to present their views, get their benefitial feedback which makes them become thoughtleaders. And the good thing is…? You don’t only have those people in the room that stay in the center of commodity and common believe.

Don’t you think? Yes, you can say “No!” if you dissent… Only then, it will start the conversation!

News Update – Best of the Day

Finally, Twitter starts their first trials rolling out their first advertising into individual users’ Twitter streams. The first clients are from Starbucks, Red Bull and Virgin. This new monetization strategy called Promoted Tweets was announced some while ago and will kick off addressing Hootsuits’s 175 million users with showing them paid tweets. Interested to see how the users will react…

LinkedIn powers the company profile pages by integrating new company pages. Companies can now “showcase their products, services and associated recommendations”. The company pages allow brands to showcase recommendations from their customers which becomes benefitial for the brand virally and credibly on LinkedIn. When memebers on LinkedIn endorse products or services of a brand, their recommendations become visible to all of their connections. The viral effect is obvious. Thus, brands get some of the most credible, authentic endorsements of their products on Company Page’s Product tab. The question is whether the user likes the idea to become a brand testimonial…

Although I am not a huge fan of plastic toys, I have to admit this Barbie commercial gets the message across. “When I grew up” is a good example of kid ads targeting adults…